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Dublin: 14°C Tuesday 20 October 2020

Manchester derby pitch invader loses his job as Bobby Charlton's gardener

Definitely the headline of the day.

Image: Martin Rickett/PA Wire/Press Association Images

MATTHEW STOTT, THE 21-year-old who was charged after invading the pitch and confronting Rio Ferdinand during the Manchester derby, has lost his job as Sir Bobby Charlton’s gardener.

Stott has been banned from attending football matches for three years after he decided to jump onto the field of play and intimidate Ferdinand, before Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart helped to defuse the situation.

Charlton confirmed that Stott had been relieved of his duties following events at the Etihad.

“He was a very nice lad and I don’t know what happened at the match,” the United legend said.

The gardener ran onto the pitch after Robin van Persie dramatically scored a last-minute winner, which saw all three points go to Ferguson’s side.

The judge further added that Stott was lucky not to be given a straight prison sentence.

“This has to be a custodial sentence which I will suspend, but you are lucky you are not going straight down,” he said.

Stott has been given a 56-day suspended sentence, a three-year football attendance ban, a three-month curfew and 120 hours of unpaid community service.

He apologised profusely after the incident, stating his intention to write to Ferguson to express his regret.

“I would like to apologise to all those affected by my actions yesterday, particularly Mr Ferdinand and the other players,” he said.

“I am extremely ashamed of my actions. I have let myself down, my family down, my fellow fans down and Manchester City Football Club.

“I intend to write personally to Mr Ferdinand to express my extreme regret and apologies and also apologise to Manchester United and their fans.  ”I would like to thank Joe Hart for his actions when I came on the pitch.

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Meanwhile, United manager Alex Ferguson says he isn’t concerned about Ferdinand’s contract situation.

The 34-year-old’s current deal at Old Trafford runs out at the end of this season, with the former England international free to negotiate terms with other clubs.

Ferdinand has reportedly attracted interest from the MLS and Asia but Ferguson is confident he will sign a new deal with the Red Devils.

“We are not panicking about that,” the Scot told reporters.

“I don’t think Rio wants to leave and, as I have said before, he can play on.

“I don’t think he has the same issue with his back that he had a couple of years ago. It is manageable now.

“There is no way you would be expecting him to play every four days right through a season anyway.

“Getting rest at the right time definitely helps him and he does a lot of work on his pre-match preparation now, with yoga and a lot of other things to help him sustain his playing time.”

The United defender has been in and out of the team this season, making 18 appearances in all competitions for the Red Devils so far.

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